Charles Dickens.

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Portrait of Dickens {oet. 29). From Pencil Draw-
ing BY R. J. Lane, A. E., 1841. Known as the
Queen's Portrait Title Page

The Lodger entertains 7

Jerry and his Dancing Dogs 10

The Small Boy receiving Moral Advice .... 24

At the Theatre 31

Kit addresses his Master and Mistress .... 36

Mrs. Nubbles waving Farewell 54

Watching the Fire 85

" When Maddened Men armed with Sword and

Firebrand" 93

Little Nell faints . , 98

The Church 110

Arriving at the Inn 123

SIR. Brass confers with Mrs. Jiniwin 139

quilp refuses to go home 155

Tea-Paktt at the Wilderness 163

The Schoolmaster showing the Vaulted Cham-
ber 167

Little Nell in the Church 186



At "Work in the Chuechyakd 201

The Sexton and Nell at the Old Well .... 209

A Letter for the Gentleman Upstairs .... 216

A Game of Cribbage 232

" Away with Melancholy " 238

QuiLP salutes the Party 260

Visitors at the Prison 272

Mr. Brass finds Mr. Quilp busily engaged . . . 281

Kit's Mother finds a Champion 297

Mr. Richard Swiveller awakes after a Long

Illness 301

The Marchioness surprises Mr. Abel' 318

The Hamper emptied in a Twinkling 328

The Conference with the Notary 334

Kit shows his Affection for Whisker 361

Mr. Chuckster fails to make an Impression . . 371

A Light in the Ruin 386

Little Nell was Dead 398

The Solitary Figure 409

Apotheosis 423



The single gentleman, among his other peculiari-
ties — and he had a very plentiful stock, of which
he every day furnished some new specimen — took
a most extraordinary and remarkable interest in the
exhibition of Punch. If the sound of a Punch's
voice, at ever so remote a distance, reached Bevis
Marks, the single gentleman, though in bed and
asleep, would start up, and, hurrying on his clothes,
make for the spot with all speed, and presently
return at the head of a long procession of idlers,
having in the midst the theatre and its proprietors.
Straightway, the stage would be set up in front of
Mr. Brass's house ; the single gentleman would
establish himself at the first-floor window ; and the
entertainment would proceed, with all its exciting
accompaniments of fife and drum and shout, to the
excessive consternation of all sober votaries of busi-
ness in that silent thoroughfare. It might have
been expected that when the play was done, both
players and audience would have dispersed ; but the
epilogue was as bad as the play, for no sooner was
the Devil dead, than the manager of the puppets
and his partner were summoned by the singla

VOL. II. -1.


gentleman to his chamber, where they were regaled
with strong waters from his private store, and
where they held with him long conversations, the
purport of. which no human being could fathom.
But the secret of these discussions was of little
importance. It was sufficient to know that while
they were proceeding, the concourse without still
lingered round the house ; that boys beat upon the
drum with their lists, and imitated Punch with
their tender voices ; that the office window was ren-
dered opaque by flattened noses, and the keyhole of
the street-door luminous with eyes ; that every time
the single gentleman or either of his guests was
seen at the upper window, or so much as the end of
one of their noses was visible, there was a great
shout of execration from the excluded mob, who
remained howling and yelling, and refusing consola-
tion, until the exhibitors were delivered up to them
to be attended elsewhere. It was sufficient, in
short, to know that Bevis Marks was revolutionized
by these popular movements, and that peace and
quietness fled from its precincts.

Nobody was rendered more indignant by these
proceedings than Mr. Sampson Brass, who, as he
could by no means afford to lose so profitable an
inmate, deemed it prudent to pocket his lodger's
affront along with his cash, and to annoy the
audiences who clustered round his door by such
imperfect means of retaliation as were open to him,
and which were confined to the trickling down of
foul water on their heads from unseen watering-
pots, pelting them with fragments of tile and
mortar from the roof of the house, and bribing the
drivers of hackney cabriolets to come suddenly


round the corner, and dash in among them precipi-
tately. It may, at first sight, be matter of surprise
to the thoughtless few that Mr. Brass, being a pro-
fessional gentleman, should not have legally in-
dicted some party or parties, active in the promo-
tion of the nuisance ; but they will be good enough
to remember, that as Doctors seldom take their own
prescriptions, and Divines do not always practise
what they preach, so, lawyers are shy of meddling
with the Law on their own account : knowing it to
be an edged tool of uncertain application, very ex-
pensive in the working, and rather remarkable for
its properties of close shaving, than for its always
shaving the right person.

"Come," said JMr. Brass one afternoon, "this is
two days without a Punch. I'm in hopes he has
run through 'em all, at last."

" Why are you in hopes ? " returned Miss Sally.
" What harm do they do ? "

" Here's a pretty sort of a fellow ! " cried Brass,
laying down his pen in despair. "Now here's an
aggravating animal ! "

" Well, what harm do they do ? " retorted Sally.

" What harm ? " cried Brass. " Is it no harm to
have a constant hallooing and hooting under one's
very nose, distracting one from business, and mak-
ing one grind one's teeth with vexation ? Is it no
harm to be blinded and choked up, and have the
king's highway stopped with a set of screamers
and roarers whose throats must be made of —
of — "

" Brass," suggested Mr. Swiveller.

" Ah ! of brass," said the lawyer, glancing at his
clerk, to assure himself that he had suggested the


word in good faith, and without any sinister inten-
tion. *' Is that no harm ? "

The lawyer stopped short in his invective, and
listening for a moment, and recognizing the Avell-
known voice, rested his head upon his hand, raised
his eyes to the ceiling, and muttered faintly, —

" There's another ! "

Up went the single gentleman's window directly.

" There's another," repeated Brass ; " and if I
could get a brake and four blood horses to cut into
the jMarks when the crowd is at its thickest, I'd
give eighteen-pence and never grudge it !"

The distant squeak was heard again. The single
gentleman's door burst open. He ran violently
down the stairs, out into the street, and so past the
window, without any hat, towards the quarter
whence the sound proceeded — bent, no doubt, upon
securing the strangers' services directly.

"I wish I only knew who his friends were,"
muttered Sampson, filling his pocket with papers ;
" if they'd just get up a pretty little Commission de
lunatico at the Gray's Inn Coffee-house, and give
me the job, I'd be content to have the lodgings
empty for one while, at all events."

With which words, and knocking his hat over his
eyes as if for the purpose of shutting out even a
glimpse of the dreadful visitation, Mr. Brass rushed
from the house and hurried away.

As Mr. Swiveller was decidedly favorable to
these performances, upon the ground that looking
at a Punch, or indeed looking at anything out of
window, was better than working; and as he had
been, for this reason, at some pains to awaken in
his fellow-clerk a sense of their beauties and mani-


fold deserts ; both lie and Miss Sally rose as with
one accord, and took up their positions at the
window : upon the sill whereof, as in a post of
honor, sundry young ladies and gentlemen who
were employed in the dry nurture of babies, and
who made a point of being present, with their
young charges, on such occasions, had already estab-
lished themselves as comfortably as the circum-
stances would allow.

The glass being dim, Mr. Swiveller, agreeably to
a friendly custom which he had established between
them, hitched off the brown head-dress from Miss
Sally's head, and dusted it carefully therewith.
By the time he had handed it back, and its beauti-
ful wearer had put it on again (which she did with
perfect composure and indifference), the lodger
returned with the show and showmen at his heels,
and a strong addition to the body of spectators.
The exhibitor disappeared with all speed behind
the drapery ; and his partner, stationing himself by
the side of the theatre, surveyed the audience with
a remarkable expression of melancholy, which
became more remarkable still when he breathed a
hornpipe tune into that sweet musical instrument
which is popularly termed a mouth-organ, without
at all changing the mournful expression of the
upper part of his face, though his mouth and chin
were, of necessity, in lively spasms.

The drama proceeded to its close, and held the
spectators enchained in the customary manner.
The sensation which kindles in large assemblies,
wheil they are relieved from a state of breathless
suspense and are again free to speak and move, was
yet rife, when the lodger, as usual, summoned the
men upstairs.


" Both of you," he called from the window ; for
only the actual exhibitor — a little fat man — pre-
pared to obey the summons. "I want to talk to.
you. Come both of you ! "

"Come, Tommy," said the little man.

" I ain't a talker," replied the other. " Tell him
so. What should I go and talk for ? "

" Don't you see the gentleman's got a bottle and
glass up there ? " returned the little man.

" And couldn't you have said so at first ? " re-
torted the other with sudden alacrity. " Now, what
are you waiting for ? Are you going to keep the
gentleman expecting us all day ? Haven't you no
manners ? "

With this remonstrance, the melancholy man,
who was no other than Mr. Thomas Codlin, pushed
past his friend and brother in the craft, Mr. Harris,
otherwise Short or Trotters, and hurried before him
to the single gentleman's apartment.

"Now, my men," said the single gentleman; "you
have done very well. What will you take ? Tell
that little man behind to shut the door."

" Shut the door, can't you ? " said Mr. Codlin,
turning gruffly to his friend. "You might have
knowed that the gentleman wanted the door shut,
without being told, I think."

Mr. Short obeyed, observing under his breath that
his friend seemed unusually " cranky," and express-
ing a hope that there was no dairy in the neighbor-
hood, or his temper would certainly spoil its contents.

The gentleman pointed to a couple of chairs, and
intimated by an emphatic nod of his head that he
expected them to be seated. Messrs. Codlin and
Short, after looking at each other with considerable



doubt and indecision, at length sat down — each on
the extreme edge of the chair pointed out to him —
and held their hats very tight, while the single
gentleman filled a couple of glasses from a bottle
on the table beside him, and presented them in due

^' You're pretty well browned by the sun both of
you," said their entertainer. "Have you been
travelling ? "

Mr. Short replied in the affirmative with a nod
and a smile. Mr, Codlin added a corroborative nod
and a short groan, as if he still felt the weight of
the Temple on his shoulders.

"To fairs, markets, races, and so forth, I suppose ? "
pursued the single gentleman.

"Yes, sir," returned Short, "pretty nigh all over
the West of England."

" I have talked to men of your craft from North,
East, and South," returned their host, in rather a
hasty manner; "but I never lighted on any from
the "West before."

"It's our reg'lar summer circuit is the "West,
master," said Short; "that's where it is. "We takes
the East of London in the spring and winter, and the
"West of England in the summer-time. Many's the
hard day's walking iu rain and mud, and with never
a penny earned, we've had down in the "West."

" Let me fill your glass again."

" ]\[uch obleeged to you, sir, T think I Avill," said
Mr. Codlin, suddenly thrusting in his own, and turn-
ing Short's aside. " I'm the sufferer, sir, in all the
travelling, and in all the staying at home. In town
or country, wet or dry, hot or cold, Tom Codlin
suffers. But Tom Codlin isn't to complain for all


that. Oh, no ! Short may complain, but if Codlin
grumbles by so much as a word — oh, dear, down
with him, down with him directly. It isn't his
place to grumble. That's quite out of the question."

" Codlin ain't without his usefulness," observed
Short with an arch look, " but he don't always keep
his eyes open. He falls asleep sometimes, you
know. Remember them last races. Tommy."

'' Will you never leave off aggravating a man ? "
said Codlin. "It's very like I was asleep when five
and ten pence was collected in one round, isn't it ?
I was attending to my business, and couldn't have
my eyes in twenty places at once, like a peacock, no
more than you could. If I ain't a match for an old
man and a young child, you ain't neither, so don't
throw that out against me, for the cap fits your
head quite as correct as it fits mine."

"You may as well drop the subject, Tom," said
Short. " It isn't particular agreeable to the gentle-
man, I dare say."

''Then you shouldn't have brought it up," returned
Mr. Codlin ; " and I ask the gentleman's pardon on
your account, as a giddy chap that likes to hear
himself talk, and don't much care what he talks
about, so that he does talk."

Their entertainer had sat perfectly quiet in the
beginning of this dispute, looking first at one man
and then at the other, as if he were lying in wait
for an opportunity of putting some further question,
or reverting to that from which the discourse had
strayed. But, from the point where Mr. Codlin was
charged with sleepiness, he had shown an increasing
interest in the discussion : which now attained a
very high pitch.


"You are the two men I want," he said, "the two
men I have been looking for, and searching after !
Where are that old man and that child you speak

" Sir ? " said Short, hesitating and looking towards
his friend.

"The old man and his grandchild who travelled
with you — where are they ? It will be worth your
while to speak out, I assure you ; much better worth
your while than you believe. They left you, you
say, — at those races, as I understand. They have
been traced to that place, and there lost sight of.
Have you no clew, can you suggest no clew, to their
recovery ? "

"Did I always say, Thomas," cried Short, turning
with a look of amazement to his friend, "that there
was sure to be an inquiry after them two travellers ? "

" You said ! " returned Mr. Codlin. " Did I always
say that that 'ere blessed child was the most inter-
esting I ever see ? Did I always say I loved her,
and doted on her ? Pretty creetur, I think I hear
her now. ' Codlin's my friend,' she says with a tear
of gratitude trickling down her little eye; 'Codlin's
my friend,' she says — ' not Short. Short's very well,'
she says ; ' I've no quarrel with Short ; he means
kind, I dare say : but Codlin,' she says, ' has the
feelings for my money, though he mayn't look it.' "

Repeating these words with great emotion, Mr.
Codlin rubbed the bridge of his nose with his coat-
sleeve, and shaking his head mournfully from side
to side, left the single gentleman to infer that, from
the moment when he lost sight of his dear young
charge, his peace of mind and happiness had fled.

" Good Heaven ! " said the single gentleman, pacing


up and down tlie room, "have I found these nien at
last, only to discover that they can give me no infor-
mation or assistance ? It would have been better to
have lived on in hope, from day to day, and never
to have lighted on them, than to have my expecta-
tions scattered thus."

"Stav a minute," said Short. "A man of the
name of Jerry — you know Jerry, Thomas ? "

'•Oh, don't talk to me of Jerrys," replied Mr.
Codlin. " How can I care a pinch of snuff for
Jerrys, when I think of that 'ere darling child ?
'Codlin's my friend,' she saj^s, 'dear, good, kind
Codlin, as is always a-devising pleasures for me !
I don't object to Short,' she says, 'but I cotton to
Codlin.' Once," said that gentleman reflectively,
" she called me Father Codlin. I thought I should
have bust ! "

"A man of the name of Jerry, sir," said Short,
turning from his selfish colleague to their nev/
acquaintance, "wot keeps a company of dancing
dogs, told me, in a accidental sort of a way, that he
had seen the old gentleman in connection with a
travelling wax -work, unbeknow^n to him. As they'd
give us the slip, and nothing had come of it, and
this was down in the country that he'd been seen,
I took no measures about it, and asked no ques-
tions. But I can, if you like."

"Is this man in town?" said the impatient
single gentleman. " Speak faster."

"No, he isn't, but he will be to-morrow, for he
lodges in our house," replied Mr. Short rapidly.

"Then bring him here," said the single gentle-
man. "Here's a sovereign apiece. If I can find
these people through your means, it is but a pre-

■^^W^^^' -


lude to twenty more. Return to me to-morrow,
and keep your own counsel on this subject, though
I need hardly tell you that, for you'll do so for your
own sakes. Now, give me your address, and leave

The address was given, the two men departed,
the crowd went with them, and the single gentle-
man for two mortal hours walked in uncommon
agitation up and down his room, over the wonder-
ing heads of Mr. Swiveller and Miss Sally Brass.


Kit — for it happens at this juncture, not only
that we have breathing-time to follow his fortunes,
but that the necessities of these adventures so adapt
themselves to our ease and inclination as to call
upon us imperatively to pursue the track we most
desire to take — Kit, while the matters treated of
in the last fifteen chapters were yet in progress,
was, as the reader may suppose, gradually familiar-
izing himself more and more with ]\rr. and Mrs.
Garland, Mr. Abel, the pony, and Barbara, and
gradually coming to consider them one and all as
his particular private friends, and Abel Cottage,
Finchley, as his own proper home.

Stay — the words are Avritten, and may go, but if
they convey any notion that Kit, in the plentiful
board and comfortable lodging of his new abode,
began to think slightingly of the poor fare and
furniture of his old dwelling, they do their office
badly and commit injustice. Who so mindful of
those he left at home — albeit they Avere but a
mother and two young babies — as Kit ? What
boastful father, in the fulness of his heart, ever
related such wonders of his infant prodigy as Kit
never wearied of telling Barbara in the evening-
time concerning little Jacob ? Was there ever


such a mother as Kit's mother, on her son's show-
ing ; or was there ever such comfort in poverty as
in the poverty of Kit's family, if any correct judg-
ment might be arrived at from his own glowing
account ?

And let me linger in this place, for an instant, to
remark that if ever household affections and loves
are graceful things, they are graceful in the poor.
The ties that bind the wealthy and the proud to
home may be forged on earth, but those which link
the poor man to his humble hearth are of the truer
metal and bear the stamp of Heaven. The man of
high descent may love the halls and lands of his
inheritance as a part of himself: as trophies of
his birth and power; his associations with them
are associations of pride and wealth and triumph ;
the poor man's attachment to the tenement he
holds, which strangers have held before, and may
to-morrow occupy again, has a worthier root, struck
deep into a purer soil. His household gods are of
flesh and blood, with no alloy of silver, gold, or
precious stone ; he has no property but in the affec-
tions of his own heart; and when they endear bare
floors and walls, despite of rags and toil and scanty
fare, that man has his love of home from God, and
his rude hut becomes a solemn place.

Oh ! if those who rule the destinies of nations
would but remember this — if they would but
think how hard it is for the very poor to have
engendered in their hearts that love of home from
which all domestic virtues spring, when they live in
dense and squalid masses where social decency is
lost, or rather never found — if they would but turn
aside from the wide thoroughfares and great houses,


and strive to improve the wretclied dwellings in
by-ways where only Poverty may walk — many low
roofs would point more truly to the sky than the
loftiest steeple that now rears proudly up from the
midst of guilt, and crime, and horrible disease, to
mock them by its contrast. In hollow voices
from Workhouse, Hosjiital, and Jail^ this truth is
preached from day to day, and has been proclaimed
for years. It is no light matter — no outcry from
the working vulgar — no mere question of the peo-
ple's health and comforts that may be whistled
down on Wednesday nights. In love of home, the
love of country has its rise ; and who are the truer
patriots, or the better in time of need — those who
venerate the land, owning its wood, and stream, and
earth, and all that they produce ; or those who love
their country, boasting not a foot of ground in all
its wide domain ?

Kit knew nothing about such questions, but he
knew that his old home was a very poor place, and
that his new one was very unlike it, and yet he was
constantly looking back with grateful satisfaction
and affectionate anxiety, and often indited square-
folded letters to his mother, enclosing a shilling or
eighteen-pence, or such other small remittance,
which IMr. Abel's liberality enabled him to make.
Sometimes, being in the neighborhood, he had lei-
sure to call upon her, and then, great was the joy
and pride of Kit's mother, and extremely noisy the
satisfaction of little Jacob and the baby, and cordial
the congratulations of the whole court, who listened
with admiring ears to the accounts of Abel Cottage,
and could never be told too much of its wonders and


Although Kit was in the very highest favor with
the old lady and gentleman, and Mr. Abel, and
Barbara, it is certain that no member of the family
evinced such a remarkable partiality for him as the
self-willed pony, who, from being the most obstinate
and opinionated pony on the face of the earth, was,
in his hands, the meekest and most tractable of
animals. It is true that in exact proportion as he
became manageable by Kit he became utterly
ungovernable by anybody else (as if he had deter-
mined to keep him in the family at all risks and
hazards), and that, even under the guidance of his
favorite, he would sometimes perform a great variety
of strange freaks and capers, to the extreme dis-
composure of the old lady's nerves ; but as Kit
always represented that this was only his fun, or a
way he had of showing his attachment to his em-
ployers, Mrs. Garland gradually suffered herself to
be persuaded into the belief, in which she at last
became so strongly confirmed, that if, in one of
these ebullitions, he had overturned the chaise, she
would have been quite satisfied that he did it with
the very best intentions.

Besides becoming in a short time a perfect marvel
in all stable matters. Kit soon made himself a very
tolerable gardener, a handy fellow within doors,
and an indispensable attendant on Mr. Abel, who
every day gave him some new proof of his confi-
dence and approbation. Mr. Witherden the notary,
too, regarded him with a friendly eye ; and even Mr.
Chuckster would sometimes condescend to give him
a slight nod, or to honor him with that peculiar
form of recognition which is called "taking a
sight," or to favor him with some other salute com-

Online LibraryCharles DickensDicken's works (Volume 13) → online text (page 1 of 27)